Today’s Scripture: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: Philippians 2:8-9

“After winter comes the summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there come clear, open skies.” – Samuel Rutherford

The truth behind Samuel Rutherford’s statement is what led Jesus to see beyond His crown of thorns a crown of majesty, beyond the nails in His hands and feet an exalted name in Glory, beyond the betrayal and abandonment of His disciples the love and worship of those who would believe in Him, beyond the visible suffering the invisible glory. Jesus could endure the suffering because He saw the blessing which would follow.

This is the same perspective we should have in our trials. While it is true God can make good come from the worst difficulties, He never asks us to paint a rosy picture of the distress, pain, disappointment, or discomfort we feel, or to pretend it doesn’t exist. Instead, He encourages us to look beyond the present hardships we face to the blessings which will come if we don’t quit. That’s what it means to persevere. That’s what it takes to win.

There will be times when the going gets tough this year. You might have a hard time selling your house. You may have a terrible trial involving a loved one. Your company may close. Something will go wrong at some time, and you will have to make a choice: am I going to become a victim of despair and self-pity, or am I going to fight my way through it and be a victor with God’s help? If you want to win as much as I do, then I know you’ll persevere — but it’s up to you.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder